By Rachel Joseph, First Year Experience Intern
One simple change can make a huge difference.
For example, if every US household simply replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), power plants would decrease their greenhouse gas emissions by 90 billion pounds. That’s a lot of gas.
The simple act of replacing a light bulb with a CFL is one of 48 criteria included in IU’s Green Room Certification Program (GRCP). Complete 20 of these sustainable criteria, and your room is officially Green Certified!
All students living in an IU residence hall can participate in the GRCP and become a part of IU’s thriving culture of sustainability.
Green Certified students receive a free stylish, reusable, insulated, BPA-free water bottle, and a certificate to hang on their door, as a thank you for making environmentally-conscious decisions.
Additionally, not only do Green Certified students achieve the satisfaction of living a more sustainable lifestyle, but they are also lowering IU’s utility bill. Upgrading 15 incandescent light bulbs with CFLs saves about $50 in one year. Imagine if every light bulb in every IU residence center was a CFL! An impact like that has the potential to decrease the cost of living in the residence halls.
The Green Room Certification Program is certainly not limited to light bulbs. The 48 criteria are divided into eight distinct categories:
Example: Making the choice to not purchase a mini-fridge
Example: Turning the faucet off while brushing teeth
Example: Using the bus or a bike to get around campus
Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling
Examples: Doing homework on scrap paper, using reusable shopping bags, having at least one recycling bin in one’s room
Example: Printing documents using both sides of the paper
Example: Drying one’s clothes with a drying rack instead of the dryer
Example: Volunteer for a sustainability-related organization
Other/Submit Your Own
Example: Buy local and organic goods
The Green Room Certification Program provides students with the opportunity to make simple changes to their rooms and lifestyles that have a big impact on IU’s campus and the environment.
The Greenest Floor Challenge adds a competitive edge to the GRCP. Each floor goes head-to-head with the other floors of their residence hall to achieve the greatest proportion of Green Certified rooms. The competition takes place over a three-week period, and the winning floor of every residence center wins a floor-wide pizza party!
Although I hope that one day, the lifestyle decisions included in the GRCP checklist will be automatic for incoming students, the program is still young. The GRCP was introduced in 2011 through a collaborative partnership between Residential Programs and Services (RPS), the Residence Hall Association (RHA), and IU’s Office of Sustainability (IUOS). At barely three-years-old, the Green Room Certification Program will surely grow within the residence halls of IU.
Some day soon, students will no longer need incentives to live sustainably, and they will carry their good habits, sustainable behaviors, and wise decisions with them for the rest of their lives.
To learn more about the program, visit the GRCP website.
IU student Hannah Coots poses next to her GRCP certificate after certifying her room.
GRCP Criteria Checklist Photo Credits (in order of appearance):